With more than six million accidents every year in the U.S., there is a statistical chance of you having three accidents in the course of your lifetime. While the majority of accidents are minor, they can still represent an inconvenience, and you may still receive injuries that require hospitalization.
But what are your rights if you suffer a rear-end impact in Pennsylvania? Who is responsible for paying for medical costs and vehicular damage, and do you need to hire a Philadelphia car crash attorney?
What Should I Do After a Rear-End Collision ?
Rear-end collisions are a common occurrence on Pennsylvania roads. In fact, 2018 Pennsylvania crash statistics recorded 27,958 rear-end accidents, which represent 21.8% of all accidents in the state that year, and those collisions resulted in 80 fatalities. If you are involved in a rear-end collision, then take the following actions:
- If possible, get all involved vehicles off or to the side of the road.
- Call police and ambulance if needed.
- Exchange all required information: names, contact numbers, license plates, and insurance information.
- Collect contact information of any witnesses.
- If possible, record photographic evidence of the vehicles, road, and weather conditions.
- Keep detailed accounts of medical treatment and all bills.
- Speak to a Philadelphia car accident attorney.
- Inform your insurance company. Discuss this step with your lawyer before talking to your policy provider.
Who Is At Fault in a Rear End Accident ?
Most people automatically think that the driver of the car behind is the one to blame. In many cases, it is the driver of the vehicle that is rear-ended who makes an error and is partially to blame.
As Pennsylvania is one of 12 no-fault states, under most circumstances you will claim on your own insurance for the following:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Property or vehicle damage
- Funeral expenses if the accident resulted in a death
- Permanent impairment or permanent serious disfigurement
- Loss of companionship
- Death benefits
There is also a provision for partial fault if both drivers contributed to the damage caused by the accident. If there is partial fault on the part of the driver who was rear-ended then their damages or settlement will be reduced by the percentage they were to blame. And if it can be shown that they were more than 50% to blame, then they will not receive any damages.
You cannot make any claim for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or emotional upset under no-fault insurance. If you can prove that there was substantial fault on the part of the driver who rear-ended you, then your Philadelphia car crash lawyer may be able to file a claim on your behalf.
Proving non-economic damages is more challenging than a standard special damages case. To claim compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or companionship, you must provide information about the age and activity of the victim before the collision and make predictions about the potential difficulty of life afterward.
Do I Need a Lawyer Following a Rear End Accident ?
Pennsylvania’s no-fault laws, while designed to make things easier and any claim process smoother, do not always work as planned. If you pursue a claim with your own insurance company, you may face delays and low settlement offers.
Having an experienced lawyer from The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky, representing you, means that you can focus on recovering from any injuries while we negotiate with your insurance company or prepare a claim for court. And as we always work on a contingency basis, you will not face further expenses and only need to pay legal fees when we win your case. Find out more by calling us today at (215) 735-4800